Natural Yeast Pie Crust

Natural Yeast pie crusts are easy as… well… you know.

Bad jokes aside, I honestly only bake pies once or twice a year in the fall, when not doing so feels completely un-American. My family and friends don’t seem to mind my sense of obligation to culinary patriotism. I’m guessing you won’t either once you try this recipe. I have scoured endless amounts of cookbooks, websites, and picked the brains of friends and loved ones for the tips that make a perfect pie crust. After some experimentation I found that making a natural yeast pie crust was not only easy, but maximized all the tips I had gathered. For example, the very best non-starter recipe I had found included vinegar in the recipe. If you know about the little organisms that make up our starters, you know that a natural by-product of the starter IS vinegar. So we can cross that off the ingredients list without having to even open the bottle. Nice!

Shall we dive in?

Natural Yeast Pie Crust | Via: thebreadgeek.com Natural Yeast Pie Crust | Via: thebreadgeek.com

Ingredients:

2 cups flour (white, whole wheat, or pastry flour)

1 tsp salt

1 cup frozen fat (butter, shortening, or both)

1 cup starter

1 beaten egg + 1 tablespoon water (optional for egg wash)

1 tsp sugar (optional for sprinkling over top crust)

 

Instructions:

Let’s start with the fat. I use half and half butter and shortening. The fat is THE most essential piece to a pie crust, and it MUST be cold for your crust to mix and roll out properly. Place butter or measured shortening in the freezer (if you haven’t already, I put mine in a few hours before). My favorite way to “cut” the fat into the flour is to grate frozen butter right into the flour. This technique keeps the butter chilled while still creating the perfect sized pieces.

Now for flour. Any flour will do, but pastry flour (made from soft wheat) will help you achieve a great, flaky, natural yeast pie crust.

Mixing:

In a medium bowl, combine the flour and salt.

Natural Yeast Pie Crust | Via: thebreadgeek.com Stick your grater (flat or boxed, doesn’t matter) right into your flour mixture. Grate the frozen butter right into the flour, stirring lightly and tossing a few times as you grate. If you are also using shortening, you will not be able to grate it (shortening stays soft when frozen), so use your fingers to crumble it into the flour.

Use your fingers to break up any clumps of butter and shortening, and make sure the flour is dispersed.

Natural Yeast Pie Crust | Via: thebreadgeek.com

Now add the starter. It’s great for us that the starter we use is refrigerated, because it keeps the dough cold. Caution: only work the dough enough to incorporate the starter. Do your best to avoid developing the gluten in the starter.

Add extra flour: If your dough is still too tacky to roll out, try adding up to 1/2 cup more flour. Pay attention though, if you have warmed up the dough too much with your hands, your problem may be warm fat rather than wet dough.Got it?

Fermentation:

Wrap the dough in cling wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight, or for at least 8 hours. The dough will not appear to have “risen” much from the fermentation because of the hardening of the fats in the dough.

Note: if you are in a holiday crisis, and need a pie coming out of the oven STAT, you may skip the fermentation period and proceed to rolling and cutting. You will still benefit from the starter that is in the crust, even if the entire crust has not fermented.

Rolling and Cutting:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Divide the dough into two even portions and set one back in the fridge (covered).

Roll the piece on your work table out into a wide enough circle that it will have a 1/2 inch lip over the edge of your pie tin. Trim any wonky edges.

Lightly flour your crust and roll it up on your rolling pin, then unroll it across your tin. Gently press it down into the tin, being sure not to trap any air along the bottom or sides. Check the edges to make sure they are even on all sides.

Natural Yeast Pie Crust | Via: thebreadgeek.com

Filling:

Now is the time. For apple pie heap it high, and don’t forget to add a little juice!

Natural Yeast Pie Crust | Via: thebreadgeek.com

 

Top Crust:

Natural Yeast Pie Crust | Via: thebreadgeek.com

If you are using a top crust, roll out the second portion of dough to the right size. Flour, roll up onto your pin and unroll across your pie. Trim excess slightly smaller than bottom crust.

Fold bottom crust “lip” over top crust and gently seal the folded edge.

Optional: Crimp the crust with your fingers or the tines of a fork. Really, you can use anything with a cool texture. Experiment!

Natural Yeast Pie Crust | Via: thebreadgeek.com

Natural Yeast Pie Crust | Via: thebreadgeek.com

Optional: Roll out any excess dough and cut out simple shapes to embellish the center or edges of your pie. Leaves, flowers, and other simple shapes can really make your pie look elegant, and are easy to make (think play-dough for grown-ups!).

Optional: But highly recommended!! Brush egg wash ingredients across top of pie, creating a pretty glaze while it bakes. Sprinkle with granulated sugar for extra flair.

Cut 4 small vents into the top of your pie

Place pie on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes at 425 degrees.

Reduce temperature to 375 and bake another 20-25 minutes, covering the crust with aluminum foil if it is getting too brown.

Cool until filling has set (up to 2 hours) and serve!

Natural Yeast Pie Crust | Via: thebreadgeek.com Natural Yeast Pie Crust | Via: thebreadgeek.com

Natural Yeast Pie Crust
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Fantastic Naturally Yeasted Pie Crust recipe!
Ingredients
  • 2 cups flour (White, whole wheat, or pastry)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup total "fat" (butter, shortening, or both)
  • 1 cup starter
  • 1 beaten egg + 1 tablespoon water (optional for egg wash)
  • 1 tsp sugar (optional for sprinkling on crust)
Instructions
  1. Mixing:
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour and salt.
  3. Grate the frozen butter right into the flour, stirring lightly and tossing a few times as you grate. If you are also using shortening, you will not be able to grate itso use your fingers to crumble it into the flour.
  4. Use your fingers to break up any clumps of butter and shortening, and make sure the flour is dispersed.
  5. Now add the starter. Caution: only work the dough enough to incorporate the starter. Do your best to avoid developing the gluten in the starter.
  6. Add extra flour: If your dough is still too tacky to roll out, try adding up to ½ cup more flour.
  7. Fermentation:
  8. Wrap the dough in cling wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight, or for at least 8 hours. The dough will not appear to have "risen" much from the fermentation because of the hardening of the fats in the dough.
  9. Note: if you are in a holiday crisis, and need a pie coming out of the oven STAT, you may skip the fermentation period and proceed to rolling and cutting.
  10. Rolling and Cutting:
  11. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  12. Divide the dough into two even portions and set one back in the fridge (covered).
  13. Roll the piece on your work table out into a wide enough circle that it will have a ½ inch lip over the edge of your pie tin. Trim any wonky edges.
  14. Lightly flour your crust and roll it up on your rolling pin, then unroll it across your tin. Gently press it down into the tin, being sure not to trap any air along the bottom or sides. Check the edges to make sure they are even on all sides.
  15. Filling:
  16. Now is the time. For apple pie heap it high, and don't forget to add a little juice!
  17. Top Crust:
  18. If you are using a top crust, roll out the second portion of dough to the right size. Flour, roll up onto your pin and unroll across your pie. Trim excess slightly smaller than bottom crust.
  19. Fold bottom crust "lip" over top crust and gently seal the folded edge.
  20. Optional: Crimp the crust with your fingers or the tines of a fork. Really, you can use anything with a cool texture. Experiment!
  21. Optional: Roll out any excess dough and cut out simple shapes to embellish the center or edges of your pie. Leaves, flowers, and other simple shapes can really make your pie look elegant, and are easy to make (think play-dough for grown-ups!).
  22. Optional: Brush top of crust with egg wash, and sprinkle with sugar.
  23. Cut 4 small vents into the top of your pie
  24. Place pie on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes at 425 degrees.
  25. Reduce temperature to 375 and bake another 20-25 minutes, covering the crust with aluminum foil if it is getting too brown.
  26. Cool until filling has set (up to 2 hours) and serve!

 

 

 

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